Collierville found out earlier in the week that it was the state's top-ranked Class AAA baseball team, and then Thursday it lost its first game since becoming No. 1.
Somebody was going to pay, and the convenient target was Soddy-Daisy. The hosts of the Athletic Shop Trojans Classic never had a chance, thanks in part to walks and hit batsmen, and took a 12-2 loss.
"They are a really good team, quite possibly the best team we've seen this year," Soddy-Daisy coach Jared Hensley said.
The Dragons weren't shy at the plate, banging out 11 hits, including a triple by Michael Druhan and doubles from Cody Bell, Kevin Hal, Zach Wylie and Clay Casey. But Soddy-Daisy helped them, hitting five batters and walking six, and six of those free-pass runners came around to score.
"Year in and year out they're a great team -- well-coached," Hensley said. "They do things the right way, and they're no different this year."
Soddy-Daisy actually had a lead, plating a run in the bottom of the first inning after starting pitcher Zach Keller loaded the bases with two hit batters and a walk but got out of the jam with his second and third strikeouts in the top half of the inning.
Keller walked and moved to second on Jake Leffew's single to left field. Leffew got picked off first and Austin Smith struck out before Hayden Bailey was hit by a pitch. Keller scored on a squib off the bat of Dalton Rogers that Collierville's first baseman was unable to handle.
The lead was short-lived. Collierville scored three in the top of the second and got at least one run in every inning the rest of the way except the sixth. That included a five-run fourth-inning outburst highlighted by Casey's two-run double.
The Trojans got a run in the third on a Bailey homer, but they were limited to three hits by Dragons lefty Stephen Salamon, who went the distance.
"I thought we did some good things. We hit some balls hard and the guys made some adjustments late at the plate," Hensley said. "We went up there with a plan. It's tough to give them anything, and we made some physical and mental mistakes."
Soddy-Daisy is 1-1 in the tournament, which is scheduled to conclude with a championship game at 6 tonight at the Trojans' Tom Higgins Field, weather permitting. The Trojans opened the tournament Thursday with an 11-1 win over Coffee County as Ryan Skinner got his first win of the year and Austin Hickey went 3-for-3 and Caden Ricketts was 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...